Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...

Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...
Click the image above for more information about our anthologies of men's adventure magazine stories and artwork

Sunday, September 19, 2010

“Jane Dolinger 101” – required for students of vintage men’s magazines...


There’s a new book out about Jane Dolinger — the brainy and beautiful adventurer, author and pin-up model I featured in a previous post on this blog.

It’s a biography titled Jane Dolinger: The Adventurous Life of an American Travel Writer.

The author, Lawrence Abbott, is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who teaches courses on American literature and writing.

His bio of Dolinger is now available on Amazon.com. I just ordered my copy this week and will post a review once I’ve read it.

If you don’t know who Jane Dolinger was, you can get a quick “Jane Dolinger 101” course by visiting the Jane Dolinger Memorial Website that Abbott maintains.

The good professor’s site has a lot of interesting info, but the photos of Jane that he posted don’t quite show the full range of her, uh, talents.

So, in this post, I’ll include some additional visuals for students enrolled in “Jane Dolinger 101.” Purely for educational purposes, of course.

Jane was born in Pennsylvania in 1932. In 1951, after graduating from High School with honors, she moved to Miami to try to find a career that suited her adventurous spirit. For a while, she worked as a secretary at the Miami offices of a Brazilian airline. She also took modeling lessons.

Then one day she saw an intriguing want ad in the local newspaper that said:

       AUTHOR needs adventure-loving Girl Friday.
       Must be free to travel. Excellent pay.
       Reply Box M-569, giving full particulars.

Even though that reads like an ad that could have been written by some pervert or psychokiller, Jane decided to check it out. She discovered that the ad was placed by author and adventurer Ken Krippene.

Krippene was a professional writer whose travel and adventure stories appeared in major magazines like National Geographic, True and Argosy, as well as in less widely known men’s bachelor and adventure magazines. He also wrote books and scripts.

When Jane met Krippene, he was preparing for an extended trip to South America to gather material for future articles and a documentary.

Being an intelligent man with good eyesight, Krippene offered Jane his “Girl Friday” job. She accepted and spent months with him and cameraman Bob Farrier, trekking through the Amazonian jungle and other remote areas.

Along the way, Jane and Ken fell in love. In 1954, they were married in Peru. During their South American journeys, Jane learned to be a writer herself.

In 1955, she published her first book, The Jungle Is a Woman: The Adventures of an American Girl in the Green Hell of the Amazon.

She followed that up with The Head with the Long Yellow Hair, a book about Jivaro headhunters published in 1958. Around that time, Jane began writing exotic travel and adventure stories for men’s bachelor and adventure magazines.

For example, a story adapted from The Head with the Long Yellow Hair was published in the April 1958 issue of Modern Man magazine.

That same story — titled “I Watched A Head-Shrinking Orgy” — later appeared in the July 1960 issue of the men’s adventure magazine South Sea Stories.

Dolinger went on to write many more such stories for men’s mags, earning her the nickname “Jungle Jane.”

Her best known stories were the racy travel and history pieces she wrote for Modern Man magazine. These included captivating photos of Jane dressed (barely) in costumes related to the articles, making her the only woman who was both a writer and a pin-up model featured in men’s magazines.

As eloquently explained on the great retro website Java’s Bachelor Pad:

Month after month for, Modern Man readers were treated to Jane Dolinger's globe-trotting accounts as well as a healthy dose of cheesecake posed in exotic locales. She was the all-American girl who faced danger and found adventure no matter where she landed. One month she would be Queen of the Amazon, the next she was in the middle of a Voodoo ceremony, and then it was off to a Moroccan harem. No matter where she was, she always looked great whether draped in leopard skins, wrapped in South American tapestries, or dressed as an Egyptian princess. Dolinger's stories were always a breathless, daring narrative of danger and intrigue throughout the uncivilized parts of the planet. When red-blooded men sat in their bachelor pads and daydreamed of world exploring, they would always dream that it would be Dolinger they would bump into while en-route to Incan ruins or cutting their way through jungle vines.

Ken Krippene also used photos of Jane in some of his magazine stories. One of my favorites is a shot of her playing a cool-looking drum, topless.

It was featured in Krippene’s yarn “I TOOK PART IN THE SECRET PASSION RITES OF VOODOO ISLAND,” published in Bluebook magazine’s 1969 annual issue. According to the caption, Jane is supposed to be a native girl in the story named “Mara.” The Bluebook editor put a black eye band across her eyes, suggesting that her true identity had to be hidden because she was involved in something forbidden.

In reality, that pic of Jane comes from a photo shoot she did for Modern Man magazine in 1963.

When Krippene and Dolinger wed in 1954, she was in her early twenties. He (the lucky schmuck) was in his fifties. They remained happily married and continued their globe-trotting writing careers until Ken’s death in 1980.

In the 1980s, Jane continued to write occasional magazine and newspaper articles. But the peak of her productivity and fame had passed. In 1995, when she succumbed to a long battle with cancer, her death received relatively little attention. And, in the years since then, her memory has faded, except among her old fans and aficionados of vintage men’s magazines and retro pop culture. (I guess I qualify on all counts.)

Hopefully, the new biography by Lawrence Abbott will spark renewed interest in “Jungle Jane” Dolinger. She was truly one of a kind.

I’ll end this post by giving you a look at Jane’s photo spread in the February 1965 issue of Modern Man. In that one, she was the “Doll of the Month.”

Yer welcome.

*     *     *     *   *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Scorpions ripped my flesh! (in men’s pulp magazine art)


Many kinds of “killer creatures” were featured on the covers of men’s adventure magazines in the 1950s and 1960s: big animals, small animals, fish, birds, crabs and various creepy crawlies, including leeches, spiders and — one of my personal favorites — scorpions.

The most notable men’s adventure magazine cover that features scorpions is the September 1959 issue of Champion for Men. It depicts a scene that manages to combine evil-looking scorpions with classic pulp-style bondage and torture.

Champion for Men was one of the wild men’s pulp mags published by Stanley Publications, a company owned by the pioneering comic book publisher Stanley Morse. (It was, unfortunately, a short-lived magazine, lasting only from April 1959 to January 1960.)

The cover painting on the September ‘59 issue was done by the great pulp artist Clarence Doore, for the story “DEATH CRAWLED UP MY BODY.”

Doore’s original painting is now in the Rich Oberg Collection of men’s adventure art.

It’s Rich’s amazing collection that is featured in the Taschen book Men’s Adventure Magazines, one of the books I consider a must-have for fans of vintage men’s mags.

Doore’s scorpion painting was used for the cover of the first edition of that book, published in 2004.

The second edition, published in 2008, features a classic killer snake cover painting by Wil Hulsey, from the September 1961 issue of True Men Stories. True Men Stories was published by Feature Publications from 1956 to 1965, and then by Stanley Publications until 1973.

As you may know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, it was Wil Hulsey, a.k.a. Will or William Hulsey, who created the most famous killer creature cover painting of them all — the “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” painting used for the September 1956 issue of Man’s Life.

I own both the 2004 and 2008 editions of the Taschen book. But I prefer the now out-of-print first edition with the scorpion cover. (You can still find good quality used copies on AbeBooks.com.)

The 2004 edition is larger (10” x 7.5” page size vs. 8.5” x 6.5” page size) and it includes two chapters about the genre’s iconic Nazi bondage and torture cover paintings that were omitted from the 2008 edition.

Also, while there are many examples of “snake menace” cover paintings from men’s pulp mags, there are relatively few “scorpion menace” covers. And, Clarence Doore’s cover painting for Champion for Men is the coolest.

Another great scorpion illustration from a men’s adventure mag is the interior illo for the story “TERRIBLE TORTURES GUARD MY TREASURE,” in the September 1959 issue of Man’s Action. Man’s Action was a long-running men’s adventure magazine published by Candar Publishing from 1957 to 1976.

That interior illo was painted by Syd Shores (a.k.a. Sydney, Sidney or Sid Shores). Shores provided artwork to many vintage men’s adventure magazines. But he is probably better known for the cover and interior art he did for Golden Age and Silver Age comic books, including Captain America, The Human Torch, The Sub-Mariner and many others.

The Man’s Action scorpion story also has a classic pulpy blurb written by the editor. It says:

       Their whips carried the lash of death.
       Violent poison raced through my veins
       as I watched Ford die horribly...
       too late I tried to get Janet away...

In the November 1955 issue of Man’s Life, there’s another killer scorpion story.

That one has a cool title — “3 INCHES OF DEATH” — but is only illustrated with a stock photo of a scorpion. (Too bad, since a pulp artist like Shores, Hulsey or Doore could have done a great painted illustration for a story with that title.)

Man’s Life was another men’s pulp mag that Stanley Morse had a hand in, at least for part of it’s long run. It was initially published by Crestwood Publishing from 1952 to 1965, then by Morse’s Stanley Publications until 1974.

By the way, the lethality of scorpions is highly embellished.

There are more than 1,700 species of scorpions in the world and only about 25 of those species have venom capable of killing a human being.

Of course, most scorpions can inflict a painful sting with the sharp little “telson” on their tails. And they all look creepy.

In the Florida Keys, where I live, a species called the “bark scorpion” (Centruroides gracilis) is common. I see bark scorpions fairly often in our garden. 

They are non-lethal, mostly nocturnal — and quite tasty.

Just kidding, folks.

No scorpions were harmed in the research I did for this post.

*     *     *     *   *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

More wild men’s pulp magazine stories about Leopard Men and Leopard Women…


As I noted in a previous post, there really were “Leopard Men” in Africa.

They were members of a secretive religious cult called The Leopard Society.

They actually did wear leopard costumes and gloves with metal claws. They also practiced ritual murder and cannibalism.

However, even though Leopard Men did exist, fictional stories about them are more common than the relatively few historic accounts.

The first and most famous was Tarzan and the Leopard Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

It initially appeared in 1932 as a serial in Blue Book magazine — the early pulp fiction periodical that later morphed into the men’s post-WWII pulp mag Bluebook.

Tarzan and the Leopard Men was first published as a book in 1935. Its popularity led to other fictional tales of Leopard Men in magazines, novels, comics, movies and even a few vintage TV shows.

I’ve seen at least a half dozen stories about Leopard Men in men’s adventure magazines from the 1950s and 1960s — and they are all pretty wild.

For example, the gory Man’s Magazine story I featured in my previous post about them (“Leopard Men! Africa’s Greatest Terror”) starts with a scene in which:

“…four victims had been disemboweled, their throats slashed to ribbons, their eyes torn from their heads and their sex organs clawed from their bones.”

Another over-the-top example is in April 1959 issue of Peril magazine. It’s titled “EATEN ALIVE BY LEOPARD MEN.”

This is portrayed as a true story, written by “Gerda Svenson.”

Of course, it’s almost certainly a piece of pulp fiction dreamed up by one of the male authors who created stories for men’s adventure mags back in the late 1950s.

“Gerda” tells us the horrific story of how she was abducted by Leopard Men in the Belgian Congo.

They take her to their secret hideout, rip off her dress (natch) and literally start eating her alive. Amazingly, Gerda manages to fend them off, kill a couple with one of their own clubs and escape.

Inside, the story is illustrated with a great but uncredited painting of a wild-looking cannibal with filed teeth (who looks more like a New Guinea native than an African to me) and a photo that supposedly shows a man studying one of the leopard costumes worn by Gerda’s abductors. According to the caption, he’s a British policeman (who apparently just happened to be in the Belgian Congo at the time).

There are also some random stock photos of Africans thrown in, with creative captions designed to make them seem relevant to the story.

One caption suggests that the tribal scarifications decorating a man’s face are old scars from an attack by Leopard Men.

Another photo shows a group of bare-breasted, dancing native women. The caption says they are “likely victims” of Leopard Men, adding: “Jungle virgins go in terror when Africa’s secret society runs wild.” 

I believe the knife-wielding babe shown on the cover of the April 1959 issue of Peril is supposed to be Gerda Svenson.

She looks pretty fierce. (And hot.)

But she’s not quite as fierce (or hot) as the women in the cover painting on the April 1960 issue of Wildcat Adventures magazine.

Those are Leopard Women, baby! 

And, in the story the cover painting goes with — “DEATH ORGY OF THE LEOPARD WOMEN” — they are just as bloodthirsty and scary as Leopard Men.

Consider this scene, told by the guy who tries to get a look at their “death orgy” ritual:

     “Two of the leopard women had evidently been acting as guards on the outskirts of the clearing, for they had cleverly crept up behind me and captured me.
     Snarling and hissing like the giant cats they claimed a blood-relationship with, they fell on me, digging their claws and teeth into my body and dragging me into the firelight of the clearing.
     Instantly, upon seeing me, the rest of the leopard women sent up a weird high-pitched wailing, which I knew from my investigations was their way of showing thanks to their leopard gods for sending them a sacrificial victim — me! They were cannibalistic and after their strange ritual where they cut out my heart while I was still alive they would eat my flesh raw.”

You could view this story as an example of equal opportunity for women.

Or maybe as an example of S&M-tinged Fifties misogyny.

Or possibly as an homage to (or rip-off of) Val Lewton’s great films Cat People (1942) and Curse of the Cat People (1944).

Either way, “DEATH ORGY OF THE LEOPARD WOMEN” is a ripping yarn (in more ways than one).

If you’d like to read it, click this link to download the entire story in PDF format.

It’s classic men’s adventure mag pulp fiction.

*     *     *     *   *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tattoo artists Cash Cooper and Kat Von D – a look at women’s skin art in 1964 and today


Recently, I read an article in the June 1964 issue of Men in Danger magazine that made me think of tattoo artist Kat Von D, the star of the reality TV show LA Ink.

The article is a photo feature about women who were getting tattoos in the early Sixties, titled ADVENTURES OF A “SKIN ARTIST!”

The “skin artist” featured in the article is the legendary London tattooist Charlie “Cash” Cooper.

Back then, in America, England and other “civilized” countries, tattoos were much less socially acceptable than they are today — especially on women.

Apparently, even Cash Cooper dissed some women who wanted tattoos, or at least their taste.

In the 1964 Men in Danger article, Cooper is quoted as saying:

“There’s two kinds of women, usually, who ask for strange tattoos...The frustrated type who can’t get a man, and the older type who feels that her natural charms are no longer enough.”

In case you’ve missed Kat Von D in LA Ink and the many celebrity gossip stories and posts about her, Kat is hot, sexy and heavily tattooed.

I suppose some of her tats might be called strange.

But she obviously isn’t one of the “two kinds of women” Cash Cooper described.

Of course, things have changed a lot since Cash’s heyday.

Tattoos are common now. It’s almost uncool not to have some tats if you’re a young person or a celebrity.

Today, the tattoo artwork is more elaborate, more colorful. And, the technology is much better and safer.

But the tattooed women shown in the Men in Danger story were ahead of their time.

So was Cash Cooper.

Not only was he a skin artist long before it became a hip profession, one of the photos in the article (at right) shows that he had a nipple ring.

That was pretty rare in 1964, when body piercing was even less common and more risqué than tattoos.

Cooper got his first tattoo during his time in the military, like many men.

When he was in the British Navy, other sailors showed him how to create tattoos with low-tech homemade tools.

“In the Navy, they don’t have electric needles,” the article explains. “An ordinary needle, with a beer-cork handle, is used to stab out the designs. Various printing inks, including India ink, are pressed into the wounds, which may fester uncomfortably for several weeks before ‘healing.’”

Cash had better equipment at his tattoo parlor in London’s Leicester Square, which was a downscale “fun fair” area in 1964. (It’s a more trendy shopping and entertainment area today.)

Based on the description Cash gave, some of the women he tattooed were a bit downscale themselves. And, some of the women’s tattoos shown in the article’s photos look pretty rudimentary.

One women (pointing to her leg above) simply has “I Love Elvis” tattooed on her thigh, in a thin script that’s difficult to see in the photo. However, there are others who have more interesting tats.

And, over a beer, Cash Cooper confides to the Men in Danger interviewer that he sometimes received “strange requests” from women who wanted tattoos.

He says some asked him “to tattoo parts of them with unusual objects.”

A favorite image was a snake coiled around the woman’s thigh, ready to strike. (Kind of a womanly version of Snake Plissken’s manly solar plexus tat.)

Cooper doesn’t mention the humorous “‘WARE WOLVES” tattoos on the woman’s thighs featured in the photo on the cover of the magazine.

I assume they were a warning to men with wolfish tendencies, signaling that they should beware if they tried to part those thighs.

I’m not exactly sure what message was being sent by the “two fancy game cocks in battle positions” that decorate the “rear section” of a woman in another photo.

But the dueling butt roosters were apparently not “indecent” by Cash Cooper’s standards.

Cash noted to the interviewer that “if there’s anything indecent about a request” he gets for a tattoo, he tells the woman “to go someplace else.”

If you’re into tattoo history and want to read the article I’ve been discussing, just click this link to download it in PDF form.

If you just want to ogle some more photos of Kat Von D, here’s an image search link for ya.

By the way, Cash Cooper — aka “Professor” Cash Cooper — was something of a celebrity himself back in the day and is still renowned among fans of traditional tattoo styling.

There are a quite a few web pages and articles that mention or show photos of him.

I gotta admit, though, I’d much rather look at photos of Kat Von D.

For example, check out the nude shot she did for the PETA poster that says “I’D RATHER TATTOO NAKED THAN WEAR FUR.”

I think Kat could probably talk me into going Vegan.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Related reading and viewing…